What is colposcopy?
Colposcopy is a procedure where an instrument equipped with a light and a magnifier, called a colposcope, is inserted into your vagina. With the help of a colposcope, your OB/GYN can see a magnified, lighted view of your cervix that enables her to identify problems that may be hard to spot with the naked eye.
Why would I need colposcopy?
Your OB/GYN uses colposcopy to look for causes of any changes in the cervical cells that have shown up on a Pap smear. It’s also used to assess other conditions including:
- Inflamed cervix (cervicitis)
- Genital warts on the cervix
- Benign growths and polyps
- Unexplained pelvic pain
- Mid-cycle bleeding
If during the procedure your OB/GYN sees anything abnormal, she’ll take a sample for further testing. A biopsy involves removing a small section of cervical tissue, or you could have endocervical curettage (ECC), which collects cells from the cervical canal.
What happens during colposcopy?
You should have colposcopy examination in between your periods, so the cervix is clearly visible. The day before the procedure, you should abstain from:
- Having sex
- Inserting tampons
- Using vaginal creams or lubricants
The procedure is very similar to going for a Pap smear. You lay on a table, raise your feet, and drop your knees to the sides to allow your OB/GYN access to your vagina. She then inserts a speculum to widen the vaginal walls.
Once the speculum is in place, your OB/GYN positions the colposcope at the entrance to your vagina, so the light shines onto the cervix. She may apply a liquid designed to highlight any abnormal cells.
If your doctor is concerned about an area of tissue, she takes a sample and sends it to the lab for more tests. Once the procedure is over, you can carry on your day as normal.
What happens after a colposcopy?
You may have a little spotting, but no other effects from colposcopy, unless you had a biopsy. The biopsy site may feel uncomfortable for a day or two, but over-the-counter painkillers should ease any symptoms. You may need to wear sanitary pads if you have discharge or vaginal bleeding.
Your OB/GYN advises you on recovery from the biopsy, which is likely to include:
- Limiting physical activities
- Not using tampons
- Avoiding sexual intercourse
- Not douching
The OB/GYNs at Galasso, Hirsch & Russell M.D.s, PC, are specialists who have years of experience in carrying out colposcopies and helping women with positive Pap smears. Call the clinic today or book an appointment online.